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Main, T.F. (1966). Robert P. Knight—1902–1966. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 47:447-450.

(1966). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47:447-450

Robert P. Knight—1902–1966

Thomas F. Main

Robert Knight died on 30th April at the age of 63 in his home at the Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Bob Knight was a fine-looking man, whose massive figure dominated every gathering. But he was big also in gentleness and wisdom and courage and intellect, although he did not show these at first impression. He had a childlike open-mouthed way of listening credulously to others and a retiring forgetfulness of himself, which hid, at first, his high talents and his far-sighted discriminating judgements. This modest ignoring of himself, his absorption in others, and his devotion to all causes concerned with psycho-analysis, kept him aloof from contentiousness and competitiveness, while the sincerity of his search for truth and his patent concern for honesty and justice made him the trusted friend of people and groups and societies, many of whom sought him out as a leader, as an arbiter of faction, and as an advisor.

Throughout his life he worked happily for others, treating patients, training juniors, leading teams of psycho-analysts (first as Chief of Staff at the Menninger Clinic and later as Medical Director at the Austen Riggs Center) and conscientiously collaborating with all who would promote research and training and applications in psycho-analysis.

The second of three sons, he was a young teacher of English, earning to help educate his younger brother, when he first encountered psycho-analytic ideas. He turned at once to his own medical and psycho-analytic training and earned the necessary money by managing boarding houses. This mixture of enthusiastic commitment to science and hard-headed determination to find practical ways and means to pursue this commitment never left him. He had a fervent devotion to man, saw psycho-analysis as the way to understand his depths, and for all concerned with psycho-analysis he had a warm, even loving, respect; and all his life he searched for practical opportunities to promote it and them and to use his skills on their behalf.

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